The Happy-Sad Highly Improbable Tail Tale of a Little Girl and her Smelly Kitten
Marina and her brother Will really wanted a pet. I mean they REALLY wanted a pet.
But their dad and mom said,
"No. Dogs are smelly, and you'll both will forget to feed it,
and the poor thing with shrivel up, turn into a dust ball and die."
Marina and Will had always been told to obey their parents, and of course they did.
They went to the Animal Rescue League and only looked at the cats.
It took them quite a long time.
The animal shelter had four thousand, eight hundred and twenty-seven cats.
But the shelter only had two kittens.
They were named Koko and Simba.
Koko was a gray and white, short haired Oriental with a wedge head and huge ears, and her brother kitten was named Simba.
He was yellow and white.
The days are numbered for Koko
But Koko the kitten was about to be "put down".
You know, done away with, eradicated, erased, executed, exterminated, ejected to kitty heaven, finished off, immolated, liquidated, obliterated, offed, polished off, put away, rubbed out, slaughtered, slain, snuffed, wasted, wiped out, zapped because no one wanted to take her home with them.
The people didn't take her be because they all said she smelled bad.
Not just bad - REALLY bad.
They called Koko a Poo-Poo-Pussy.
In a word, she stank.
Koko had an unpleasant aroma, a base bouquet, an icky emanation, an unpleasant essence, foul fragrance, retched redolence, snarky scent, stink... the kitten smelled to high heaven because the kitten FARTED.
Simba, on the other paw, was quite normal - like any boy, a little dim but lots of fun.
Marina and Will told the animal shelter that their parents were olfactory deprived (i.e. they couldn't smell anything), and they had sent them to select a pet.
Marina ddn't think that was lie, exactly. Her parents hadn't said not to get a kitten, and it was really only a "white lie", or at least a "gray and white" lie.
Home is where the fart is
They came home with Koko the Poo Poo Pussy and her brother Simba.
The first thing their father did was make them both sit in the corner for seven years with only bread and water.
After fifteen minutes, however, their mother needed someone to take out the garbage, so they were both put on parole.
Her mother thought it was the garbage which was making the house smell so bad.
It wasn't the garbage.
It was Koko the Farting Cat.
Because when the garbage pail was empty, the whole house still smelled.
Marina's daddy said, "that kitten stinks."
But Marina said it was her brother Will who smelled, not little Koko.
She called him Will the Farting Brother.
That's when Will became the hero of the 'hood.
Brother Will loved the little kitten so much that he immediately ate fourteen cans of B & M Baked Beans and trained himself to fart every time Koko cut a juicy one.
So life went on with the parents clipping clothe pins on their noses to avoid the smell.
After all, a kitten they could get rid of, but not their son Will who by all reports was the best boy this side of the Bass River.
The local town Board of Bad Smells however got involved.
Neighbors began to complain of the smell emanating from Marina and Will's house.
The board placed an article in the warrant for the next Town Meeting which required Marina and Will to place warning signs on the street 100 yards either side of their home.
And now for the best of the story
Life went on until finally, after 45 years, a cure was discovered for farting cats, and Will could finally stop eating beans every hour.
But the medicine made Koko sick to her stomach.
Every time she had a dose of the anti-farting medicine, she would throw up. She would barf, be nauseous, be sick, blow grits, blow lunch, disgorge, gag, heave, pray to the porcelain god, puke, regurgitate, retch, spew, spit up, toss one's cookies, upchuck, urp, vomit.
But Marina's daddy said the puke smelled a lot better than the farts, and Koko lived happily ever after watching birds she would like to taste from Marina's window.
The morale of the story: In the immortal words of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.,
"I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different."
CC2day's Christmas Wish List
To all our bloggers who make this site swell.
May all your post comments be complimentary as well.
To the commenters we've exiled, their punishment will beckon,
Especially the ones as bad as Steve Peckham.
To my fellow eCapers who labor so prodigious,
A delish Christmas dinner, and your spouse does the dishes.
To Cape Cod's politicos who next year seek our vote,
May you all get elected (hey, that's just a joke).
To our own Christy Mihos, we want something nice,
Like some cleats for his shoes so he won't slip on black ice.
For his opponent Chuck Baker, what else can we say,
Except hide his last job with a rewritten resume.
To our police and firemen who work day and night,
No one plays with the matches and everyone drives right.
To the Cape Cod Commission whose greed's over-flowing,
A move to another county and help to get going.
To Town Manager Klimm, Barnstable'sl Darth Vader,
A Town Council vote making him a Dictator.
To Mashpee "Praying Indians" who forgot Jesus Christ,
A conversion to their old gods - hey, they got a good price.
To Congressman Bill, a new master to bow to,
And listen to your voters, if you even know how to.
To sham Senator Kirk who Deval asked to serve,
The deep, dark oblivion to which you deserve.
And to Senator Kerry, some rough para sailin',
He's our own bush league version of hot Sarah Palin.
To State Senator O'Leary who taught at MMA,
A political comeuppance for his cowardly Cape Wind nay.
To Rep Sarah Peake we'll be tainting,
Her despised Town Hall painting.
To Reps Patrick and Turner we'll deck all the halls,
For supporting Cape Wind when it really took balls.
To Democrats here as they drift to the right,
A new name for their party - GOP sounds about right.
To Cape Cod's Republicans as they disappear from sight,
It was fun while it lasted, sleep well and good night.
To Barnstable's DPW for their recent plowing role,
A deep hole to hide it and a small lump of coal.
To those heroes at the Oceanic in Woods Hole on Cape Cod,
A thousand new fishes, and every one of them odd.
To Bob Dwyer at the museum of our nature, so dear,
A thousand new donors to greet the New Year.
To the Cynthia Stead, a bizarre change of will,
And a return to her Liberal youth on Blue Hill.
To Cape Cod Healthcare, every doc, nurse and lackey,
A quiet New Year when no visitor goes wacky.
To Felis at Alberto's who fed me all year,
A week or two off with some Portuguese beer.
To Bill Koch and his Alliance, those fossil fuel fools,
Approval for Cape Wind and watch us all drool.
To Clean Power Now for their long, well fought fight,
Victory at last, may your future be bright.
To our friends at The Times may ad space cease to taper,
And every kid on Cape Cod start to read your newspaper.
To the folks at Cape's weeklies, short staffed and ill-paid,
Generous publishers who make their worries all fade.
May our eight Public Radio station's staff start to smile,
As thousands and thousands more turn to your dial.
May Bob Whitcomb at Projo at last reach his goal,
A well-financed dotage some place near Woods Hole.
To the gang at The Globe, the end of its groaner,
When a liberal local becomes its new owner.
And The Herald's Bill Purcell has a transmogrification,
And moves to the left like the rest of the nation.
For Cape Cod TODAY an internet heaven,
As more dig our motto: "Cape Cod 24/7."
To my hard-working wife Pat, who says "all is forgiven,"
"You can still write this column and not work for a living."
Amazon's Kindle does it right on the first try
Only a literary Luddite wouldn't love it, and I've had five already
By Walter Brooks
I may have set a world record - I've had five Amazon Kindles in 18 months
The story of how and why I've had five of Amazon's new e-reader in a year and a half is both telling about the company and embarrassing about me, so I have to tell you about the device itself first.
People who know me are aware I've jumped head first into every new electronic device or program I've come across. The web company my daughter in law and I run, eCape.com, was online with our magazine Best Read Guide ahead of every other media (print or otherwise) on Cape Cod and capecodtoday.com was the first web-only newssite in America shortly after that in 1997.
When the first Kindle was announced by Amazon around Thanksgiving in 2007 my wife ordered the then $359. device the next day to have it on hand for a Christmas gift for me.
It's lucky she did because within weeks there was a several month-long backlog, and used ones were selling on eBay for as high as $1,800.
The first version was thicker and less user-friendly than the new Kindle2 which came out earlier this year and has now been reduced in price to $299, after a third of a million have been sold.
But even the first version was easier to set-up and operate than any new e-device I'd ever owned and was nearly flawless.
The newer Kindle2 measures 8" x 5.3" x 0.36" overall which includes a QWERTY keyboard and has a reading surface the size of a regular paperback.
At 10.2 ounces, Kindle2 is lighter than a paperback and at a third of an inch thinner than most magazines. It has page-turning buttons on both sides, allowing you to read and turn pages comfortably with one hand from any position.
Kindle2 has a new "toggle mouse", a 5-way controller which allows on-screen navigation for selecting text to highlight or looking up words with the built-in dictionary as you slide the curser to any word. You can also select from seven different type sizes in a nanosecond, and the Kindle2 is completely wireless and ready to use right out of the box- no setup, no cables, no computer required.
Literary Luddite disses the future
But all this slim, trim and trouble-free effort on the part of Amazon failed to impress Nicholas Baker in this week's edition of The New Yorker. I don't know who felt more threatened by the Kindle, the magazine's editor or the author who makes more money I guess when he sells a papaer copy of one of his books over an e-edition which on a Kindle cost between $3 and $9,95.
Still, it was a shock for this long-time subscriber of New Yorker to read such unmitigated drivel and misinformation about a device which has the potential of hugely increasing the readership of Mr. Baker's books and all others. The man's a literary Luddite.
I have three separate library areas in my home with over 3,000 books, and you may assume I read a lot, but since I've owned my Kindle(s) I've read twice as many books (over 90 bought on my Kindle in 18 months), and I continue to buy books in print as well.
Why? Because books are easier to read on my Kindle, and I can download new books in three seconds without stirring from my chair. I can also download books, magazines and newspapers anywhere there is a Sprint cellphone signal.
The only drawback I've discovered is that when I access the Kindle Store on my device and search for an author, the books available are not listed by date of publication so I can't easily see the latest ones vs. the older ones.
This is more than mitigated by the thousands of classics which Amazon offer absolutely free. Think of the books you've always meant to read: Moby Dick, War and Peace, Middlemarch, Dracula, Frankenstein, The complete Sherlock Holmes, P.G. Wodehouse; The Three Musketeers, Anna Karenina, all free on Kindle.
And there are over 300,000 more (so far) available here.
O.K., here's why I've had five Kindles in 18 months
My Kindle #1 was giev to me for Christmas in 2007. I was very careful with it until April 15, 2009, when I was covering that Tax Day Revolt in Hyannis. I was standing alongside my car reading my Kindle when Billy Snowden called me to complain about some commenter dissing him on capecodtoday.com.
The call lasted so long I placed my Kindle on the roof of my car to mollify him. After I hung up I called my office to ask an Editor to delete the dis for Billy, then I drove off - forgetting the Kindle on the car's roof.
When I thought about it I was miles away, and I knew it was a goner. I called the Kindle service number (it always answers within twenty seconds) and asked that they cancel my account until I decided what to do.
When a week passed with no one calling to return it, I ordered my Kindle #2 which was the new version shown in the top, right photo.
Amazingly everything I had downloaded on my first Kindle was archived for me on the new one, and I could select which books to load on my Kindle2 with one click (the device will hold 1,500 books but archiving on the Amazon site is a one-click simpility).
Fast forward five weeks to my grandson's 11th birthday party at Ardeo's in Brewster. Toward the end of the meal his sister and her friend were cutting-up, so I was asked to take the two 8-year girls somewhere for a while.
"Somewhere" to me is usually a ice cream store, and I slipped my new, slim Kindle2 into a loose windbreaker jacket, got into my car with the jacket hanging out the door unbeknown to me, and slammed the door on my new Kindle which cracked the screen.
No nagging, no recrimination, no charge
A call to that service number brought no nagging, and I was told my new Kindle was already being shipped and would arrive the next day at no charge.
It arrived next-day UPS with everything archived, and it lasted one month until my grandson's graduation from the Eddy School in Brewster.
This time he was playing his new drum set, and I sat listening in the school gym until my wife asked me to take a video.
I set my Kindle on my seat, and took the video. When I returned my wife had laid her program on my seat covering the Kindle which I promptly sat on and again cracked the screen.
I called Kindle from the gym, no nagging, just incredible service, and the next afternoon I had my fourth Kindle.
Two weeks ago I took my Kindle along to NYC for a visit to show my grand-kids my old coffeehouse and where we used to hang out. I was reading my Kindle in bright sun, and the type started fading.
When I called Amazon and asked if this was a problem with the new "e-ink", they said no, but since they wanted me to be happy, my new Kindle (#5) was already being shipped.
I think I'm probably eligible for the Guinness Book of Records, along with Amazon as the world's best in customer service.
Fifty years ago on a beach in Truro
What a difference a half century makes
By Rafio, a.k.a. Walter Brooks
There is a new best seller named "1959: The Year Everything Changed", and it could have been written with me in mind.
During this summer in 1959 I was known as Rafio, and my home was a pup tent in the sand dunes at Land's End in Provincetown.
I would spend a couple hours each day sketching portraits of tourists on Commercial Street, and when I had enough for a New York Times, a nickle bag of noxious weed and lunch, I'd quit for the day.
This was 1959 and the only coke around came in a six-ounce, glass bottle. It was an innocent but bigoted era.
I didn't drink alcohol and rolled my own cigarettes, so all I did all day was lay in the sun, flirt with women, and wait for the long-gone "Wreck Club" to serve their free food each evening after the fishing boats unloaded.
One day's repast might be pasta and another might be squid stew, but it was fun and it was free for the price of a drink at this great old watering hole.
I was beatific and had reached nirvana.
Then I met Patricia
I was coming back from a swim in the harbor on August 22, 1959, when I spotted this incredibly beautiful young 17-year-old girl in front of Adam's Pharmacy walking off with the sketch pad I had left on my easel at the Crown & Anchor.
I asked her why she'd glommed it, and she said. "the drawings were so lovely, I couldn't resist them."
Guess what - I didn't say another word, and one thing led to another until she moved into my pup tent with me that night.
We had a rapturous week together at Ballston Beach behind her family's camp on Old King's Highway in Truro, and even made poet Harry Kemp's last beach party.
But it all came to a screeching halt when her parents came down on Labor Day and dragged her back home.
Pat gave them a month to see the light, and then she ran off to look for me in Greenwich Village.
Miracle on 4th Street
She didn't have an address because I didn't have one myself. I crashed at various friends' pads in the Village. The only thing she knew was that I hung out at the Rienzi on McDougal Street.
She took a bus to the terminal on West 42nd Street, ignored the pimps and other chicken hawks, and took a cab to 6th Avenue and 4th Street.
She started walking east on 4th Street until we passed each other.
I had been heading for the subway on 6th Avenue to get to the northern end and then hitchhike to Massachusetts and bring her back with me.
Neither of us at the time thought anything about how impossible meeting on the one block really was. Today it still gives me shivers.
This was the Beat Era, and The Village was jumping with art, music, poetry - it was the dawning of the Age of Aquarius as well as sexual freedom, Civil Rights blooming and America would never be the same again.
Pat and I had our own, very successful coffeehouse on Bleeker Street, and generally raised all kinds of hell until Pat was about to give birth to our first of two sons in 1961.
I gave up the coffeehouse, got a job at the New York Post to get my resume back together, and by 1965 we were living in a little Cape Cod dream house and working for The Cape Codder newspaper.
This August 22nd will mark our fiftieth year together, so 1959 really did change everything for us, thankfully, and below is the happy couple with the Fresh Air Fund visitor Gina Peterson at Long Pond in Brewster around 1972.
I'll show you mine if you show me yours
Be honest, everyone has them, here's your chance to beef
By Walter "Vladek" Brooks
I was leaving work today driving behind a "bluehead" in an older Chevy heading south on Route 134 nearing the Police station with plenty of time to make the light when the driver ahead stopped in the middle of the road and waved someone parked at the garden supply store parking lot out into traffic ahead of her stopping the traffic in both directions on this state highway in the process.
Why is this a pet peeve?
When questioned why she did such a silly and dangerous thing later, the old poop explained she was being friendly. Aaaaarrrggghhh!
Pet peeve #2 is when shoppers in a store parking lot walk across in front of incoming traffic at a wide angle to their own parked car thus blocking the lane twice or three times longer than necessary if they crossed at a right angle to traffic.
Pet peeve # 3 is people walking on the highway with their backs to the traffic especially in dark clothes. The only good thing about this is that it works wonders over time due to Darwin's theory of "natural selection."
Now show me yours!
O.K., there are three of mine (I have others I will spare you today), and it's your turn to tell me and our tens of thousands of readers your pet peeves.
If you are a registered commenter, add you peeve below now. If not, register and do so immediately!
For the technology-challenged, you can email me your pet peeve and I'll add it myself wirth or without your name.
Creative writing and "guaranteed lifetime jobs" don't mix
It's akin to "guaranteed creativity"
By Walter Brooks
Sorry fellas and girls, but the real world is beckoning to you Boston Globe writers and back office folks, and you aren't paying attention.
Your employer is losing money big time. The newspaper you "work" at was worth $1.1 billion sixteen years ago when the New York Times bought it, but the owners can't find a buyer for a tenth of that today.
Two hundred Globe writers have "guaranteed lifetime jobs" and presumably were a hunk of the vote to turn down management's offer which was a requirement to avoid shutting down this news source.
What will happen to these "guaranteed lifetime jobs" when, not if, The Globe declares bankruptcy?
Do the writers actually believe that Globe readers "owe" them anything? Does my Starbuck's barista "owe" me anything other than the coffee I paid for?
It's the other way around. Journalists owe their readers a hell of a lot more news for the money you are getting paid at what Globe peers call "the velvet coffin."
When Globe columnists write twice a week rather than daily, when the rest of the Globe's writers are unwilling to knock out a couple news stories every day, then some other media will do it, and the Globe will end up in the dust bin of obsolescence.
It won't be the fault of The Boston Globe or the New York Times. It will be the fault of overcompensated, under-worked writers and office staff along with the former owners who granted these foolish indulgences.
What do these prima donas think it takes to cover a news story? It requires a native curiosity coupled with the ability to write simple declarative sentences into a story which explains who, what, when, where and why in the first paragraph.
It isn't rocket science, literally. That does require advanced education.
The number of Americans who are out of work is nearly 10 per cent and the newspaper industry is archaic at best. Unless a business shows a reasonable profit, there is no possibility that even a billionaire will buy it and be willing to absorb the $50 million a year losses at this newspaper.
Instead either the current owners, the New York Times, or anyone they sell The Globe to, will simply declare bankruptcy which will kill every union contract along with those "lifetime guaranteed jobs."
Globe's Guild members had best get their heads out of the sand, and look around at the real world.
But geniuses who turn down a 10% pay cut in favor of a 23% one, aren't wise enough to be working for The Globe anyway. As the poet Friedrich Schiller said, "Against stupidity, even the Gods struggle in vain."
Sodas a Tempting Tax Target
Taxes have little effect on this sweet habit
By Walter Brooks
"A tax on sugar to fight obesity.
Is probably the best thing to do at least-ity." - Blogfather, 2009.
"Sugar, rum and tobacco are commodities which are nowhere necessaries of life, which are become objects of almost universal consumption, and which are therefore extremely proper subjects of taxation." - Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776.
That quotation, from the great philosopher of capitalism, appeared at the start of an article that ran a few weeks ago in The New England Journal of Medicine. The article argued for taxing Coke, Pepsi, Gatorade, Red Bull and any other sugar-sweetened beverage, largely to combat obesity.
The authors were Kelly Brownell, a longtime obesity researcher at Yale, and Thomas Frieden, the New York City health commissioner. Since the article appeared, President Obama appointed Dr. Frieden to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
So one of the nation's top public health officials is now a fierce proponent of a soda tax. Meanwhile, other Obama advisers and some Senate staff members have been talking about such a tax - which wouldn't apply to diet soda or real juice - as a way to help pay for expanded health insurance. Among 15 options for paying for health care reform, a new Senate Finance Committee analysis lists a "sugar-sweetened beverage excise tax."
Coca-Cola and PepsiCo hate this idea, of course, and they're fighting hard (if quietly) against it... NY Times.
Massachusetts' Proposed Tax on Sweets May Not Dampen Demand
John Auerbach, the Massachusetts public health commissioner, acknowledged in an interview that the main objective of the sugar tax is revenue generation, not behavior modification. The $43.5 million the state expects to collect annually from taxes on candy and soft drinks -- both regular and diet varieties -- would go to a fund for public health services, including community health centers, dental care, and violence prevention.
When Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick proposed a 5 percent premium on sugary treats last week, his administration called it a sin tax with a bonus: The levy, a briefing paper stated, would be "a critical first step in discouraging the consumption of these empty calories," according to a report in the Boston Globe.
But there is little evidence that an extra nickel or dime for a candy bar would significantly dampen demand for products blamed for fueling the nation's obesity epidemic, the newspaper reported.
Chicago researchers who studied the effects of state tax policies on consumer behavior concluded that modest fees on candy and soft drinks produce equally modest effects on waistlines and consumption. "If the state's purpose of a 5 percent tax is to drive down the obesity rate, then that's an overstatement of what it's likely to do," Frank Chaloupka, director of the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told the Boston Globe. "The bottom line is that the taxes are really too low to significantly affect obesity." States big and small, from California to Rhode Island, tack a surcharge onto soft drinks and candy. In all, 33 states have sales taxes on soda or candy as of Jan. 1, 2008, with most rates hovering between 4 and 6 percent, according to the report... Convenience Store News.
Watch out for those Senior Citizens! (from a friend)
The other day I went downtown to run a few errands. I went into the local coffee shop for a snack.
I was only there for about 5 minutes, and when I came out, there was this cop writing out a parking ticket.
I said to him, 'Come on, man, how about giving a retired person a break'?
He ignored me and continued writing the ticket. His insensitivity annoyed me, so I called him a 'Nazi.'
He glared at me and then wrote out another ticket for having worn tires.
So I proceeded to call him a 'doughnut eating Gestapo.' He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first.
Then he wrote a third ticket when I called him a moron in blue.
This went on for about 20 minutes. The more I talked back to him the more tickets he wrote.
Personally, I didn't really care. I came downtown on the bus, and the car that he was putting the tickets on had one of those bumper stickers that said, 'STOP the Wind Farm'
I try to have a little fun each day now that I'm retired.
The doctor tells me that it's important for my health.
Cape Parable #1
Marketing on Olde Cape Cod
By Walter Brooks
Every evening after work, I would stop at the long-gone Livingston Pharmacy on Main Street (where Westie's Shoes is today).
That sequence proceded without a problem for two years until one afternoon when I picked up my Tribune there were no Skybars in their accustomed place on the candy shelves.
There weren't any the next day or the next or the next.
I assumed they had run out of my favorite candy bar, a correct assumption I later discovered, and allowed a week to pass before I asked owner Urban (yes, that was his name) Livingston if he was going to get some more Skybars in soon.
That special form of Olde Cape marketing
He replied, "No."
I asked if he could still acquire them, and he said, "Yes."
Being a smart marketing genius I asked if it was because they were not selling well enough to handle, but he said, "no, we sell lots of them."
So, naturally I inquired, "Then why aren't you going to reorder them?"
Urban replied with a olde-time Cape Cod wisdom which escapes me to this day, "Because I can't keep them in stock."
Moral of the story
Never let your customers tell you how to run your business.
I swear this account is true word-for-word, and anyone who has lived around here more than forty years will get a sense of déjà vu.
I hope that any readers who did will add a comment or send me their "Olde Cape" experience to retell here.